Dina as Mama

- Leah Salterio () - August 13, 2003 - 12:00am
Dina Bonnevie may be a successful actress and businesswoman, but when it comes to being a mom, Dina plays her real-life role to the hilt. A single mother to Danica, 21 and Oyo Boy, 19 – her children with comedian and TV host Vic Sotto – Dina has proudly raised her well-mannered and upright kids, just the kind she and Vic wanted them to be.

When talk centers on motherhood, Dina is unstoppable, from the best thing to the worst thing they did, from their faults to their talents, from their strengths to their weaknesses. She simply laughs at herself now when she remembers how she cried inside the moviehouse while watching Oyo Boy in the top-grossing Metro Manila Film Festival entry last December, Lastikman. Oyo starred with his dad in the fantasy-comedy flick.

"Oyo registered so well on the big screen because he is very good-looking," Dina says of her son. "I cried in the scene where his mom died and he hugged her and he cried, too. He was very good."

She was also thrilled when Oyo Boy made a movie with FPJ. "It took me decades to make a movie with the king," Dina says. "I was already 40 when I worked with him in Batas ng Lansangan last year. Oyo’s second movie was already with FPJ."

Dina discloses it is only now that Oyo Boy has given showbiz his full attention, after he graduated from high school. On TV, he is seen as a mainstay of GMA 7’s Saturday afternoon drama, Love To Love.

"His dad wanted him to finish high school first, so we passed up a lot of offers, including TV commercials, soaps and other shows. I did a TV ad (for Whisper) with Danica but she was scolded by her teachers in Poveda for doing that. So nag-donate na lang kami ng mga air-conditioning units to the school."

Danica was also allowed to go full-blast in showbiz after she graduated from high school. She was in the cast of GMA 7’s youth-oriented show, Click and is seen starring with her dad in the sitcom, Da de di do du.

"Before that, Danica was rarely seen on TV. All three of us were offered to do TV ads for Palmolive Soap, Alaska Milk, Colgate and Selecta Ice Cream, but we had to turn down everything. That meant millions of pesos lost. But I never disagreed with Vic when he required the kids to prioritize their education. For me, education is also the most important of all."

Now that her kids are grown ups, Dina is trying to be more lenient with them, but not to a fault. She still flares up, feels bad or even panics when Danica or Oyo Boy violates rules at home.

"Is there any parent who will pay P110,000 for the cellphone bill of her son?" Dina rues. "That’s not normal. Gusto kong hambalusin si Oyo at ipako sa krus when I saw his bill. I told him, ‘Hindi ko pinupulot ang pera sa kalsada. I work hard for it.’

"He reasoned out that his girlfriend, Anne Curtis, was always out of the house, so the only way for them to talk was through the cellphone. So the next time I saw Anne, I scolded her and said, ‘You know Oyo is spending a lot on cellphone calls, so please make him call you up when you’re at home na.’

"Ako, I’m an actress and businesswoman. I have an export company and a shipping agency. I also do commercials, aside from TV and the movies. But I don’t spend that much on cellphone bills. Danica also accumulated a huge phone bill on our Bayantel line by calling a cellphone. Pwede na siyang stock-holder."

Asked about the worst thing that her children did to her, Dina remembers the time when Danica, at 16, lied to her just to join her high school friends for ice cream.

"She told me she would just go to her friend’s house inside the village to group-study," Dina recalls. "That day, Vic and I just came from the hospital with Oyo Boy who has ulcers. He had 18 small holes in his stomach. Danica was grounded because she had poor grades in Math. But she was relentless and even asked her dad to intercede for her so I would allow her to go out.

"At 5 p.m., when Danica was not yet home, I asked Oyo to go to her classmate’s house, but he was told Danica left with some boys in a pickup, wearing denim jeans and blue eye makeup. At 8 p.m., when she wasn’t home yet, I reported the matter to the village guards. I also called up Vic because I was already crying and panicking. I thought I had lost my daughter already. Mamamatay ako sa sakit sa puso.

"At 9 p.m., Danica arrived home and she casually asked, ‘What’s the haps? Why is everybody crying ba? What’s going on?’ By that time, Vic was already there in our house, so she was forced to tell the truth. She said she just went to Katipunan to eat Haagen Dazs with her friends. Vic used the belt on her for lying to me. He spanked her twice but he was also crying. Then he asked Danica to go to her bedroom and talked to her. Vic told her, ‘You know I spanked you because I love you.’ Vic later told my kids, ‘You know the reason your mom and I separated is that I often lied to her.’ So ako naman yung iyak nang iyak when he said that."

At another time, Dina also remembers how Danica and Oyo Boy left her waiting for hours outside the UP Chapel after hearing Mass.

"They dropped me off in the chapel and then told me they would just go and see a friend. Pero nabulok ako sa church up to 4 p.m. Hindi ako nasundo. I didn’t bring anything. I left my bag and my cellphone in my car. The only P100 I brought was what I gave to the offering. When they finally came, I learned that Oyo Boy attempted to drive my BMW at nag-joy ride sila. When I saw the car, may mga tama, so galit na galit ako. Danica told me, ‘Mama, we just forgot to pick you up. You’re so sensitive naman.’ I cried at home after that and I didn’t go out of my room for two days. They had to call their dad to mediate for them."

However, as the "elder sister" to her two kids, Dina enjoys cooking with Danica and Oyo or playing billiards with them at Famous Mike’s in Libis or Gutson’s in Ortigas Avenue.

"They’re both very good in billiards," Dina offers. "Sometimes, they would ask me if they could drink beer and I would allow them one bottle each, but only when they’re with me. When we’re at home, we would rent videos and lie down in a comforter on the floor with lots of pillows. Then we would call for delivery. We would binge the whole day."

There are times when the conservative Oyo Boy tends to be over-protective with his mom, like when Dina did a sexy pictorial for FHM Magazine two years ago.

The first time I came out in FHM in 2001, Oyo didn’t like it. He even had to ask his dad why Vic allowed me to go bold for a magazine pictorial? But Vic simply told him, ‘Wala na kong karapatan sa Mama mo! Pasensya ka. Maganda at sexy ang Mama mo.’ But Oyo threatened me with a clenched fist, ‘Wag mo nang uulitin ’yun Mama.’ That’s why when I posed for FHM again recently, nagalit na naman si Oyo."

Never the relentless swinger unlike other single parents who crave for the nightlife, Dina doesn’t mind being alone. She unabashedly says she doesn’t have someone special in her life at the moment. And she readily brushes aside rumors linking her with actor Monsour del Rosario, who escorted her to the Star Awards for Movies at the UP Theater early this year.

"Monsour is just a friend from way back," Dina points out. "When he was still Dawn’s boyfriend, we were already friends. When he became Agot’s boyfriend, friends pa rin kami. Most of his friends are also my friends. It just so happened that we both have the same manager now (Arnold Vegafria). We would hang out in bars with the other talents of Arnold, like Hans Montenegro and Maritoni Fernandez. It never happened that only the two of us went out together. Monsour and I don’t need to come out in the open, because there’s really nothing to admit."

When it comes to movies, Dina laments why every role she gets these days turns out to be controversial. She was supposed to play one of the female leads in Regal Films’ Mano Po sequel, which is intended for the Metro Manila Film Festival in December. However, the role eventually went to Lorna Tolentino, much to Dina’s disappointment. The opposite happened in Star Cinema’s Noon at Ngayon, where Lorna‚s role as a balikbayan who comes home from the US to take care of her cancer-stricken mother (played by Laurice Guillen), went to Dina.

Noon at Ngayon
is directed by Marilou Diaz-Abaya and boasts of a star-studded cast that includes Eula Valdez, Jericho Rosales, Jean Garcia, Jodi Sta. Maria, Aiza Marquez, Patrick Garcia and Cherrie Pie Picache.

Dina is also wrapping up the film-bio, Chavit: Bloodson of Ilocos, where she plays the coveted real-life role of Evelyn Singson, wife of former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson. The role was said to have been originally meant for Snooky Serna. The P50 million biopic is produced by Golden Lion Films, with the husband and wife tandem of director Carlo J. Caparas and Donna Villa.

Controversial or not, every movie gets Dina’s 100 percent attention and hard work, so that she refuses to dwell on the intrigue or negative write-ups and concentrates on playing her role. Dina’s ultimate dream is to see Filipinos penetrate Hollywood or Filipino products dominate the international market.

"Indians have penetrated even the fashion world and there’s The Guru in Hollywood," she notes. "Latin-Americans, Puerto Ricans, Spanish, Mexicans and Chinese have made it in Hollywood. You see the likes of Salma Hayek, Penelope Cruz, Jennifer Lopez or Jackie Chan, Jet Li and Lucy Liu. Their mother tongue is not even English, but they’ve made it in Hollywood.

"I don’t understand it. Our mother tongue is English and we can’t make it in Hollywood that’s why my heart bleeds. The Spanish dress up differently. Chinese don’t dress up like Westerners. But how come the clothes by Spanish and Chinese designers sell like hotcakes in Hollywood. There’s Vera Wang or Vivienne Tam, too. We have Inno Sotto, Nono Palmos and Rajo Laurel. They’re all good designers. I hope to see their clothes in Hollywood one day."

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